} Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. if ($(divID).length) { "We know that the targets of these actions, as we've seen in the past at our polls, are voters of color," said Barbara Arnwine, president and founder of Transformative Justice Coalition, in testimony to Congress in early June, in reference to the poll watchers. window.Taboolalocale = "usa";

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Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT) August 15, 2020. The poll-watch operation is part of a "voter suppression war machine," said Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action, the voting rights group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams. "By and large, having these mobilized security forces out at the polls is just a powder keg," Wendy Weiser, of the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice, said of the Republican poll observers. Fair Fight 2020 is building voter protection teams with Democratic state parties or local allies across the country to protect the right to vote—and we’re starting now. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images), MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE - FEBRUARY 11, 2020: At her election night party, Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks to her supporters on New Hampshire primary night in Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday February 11, 2020. Philadelphia residents go to the polls on November 8, 2016, at Old First Reformed Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. c.sps = sizeArray; AOL.responsiveEnabled = true; // required by dynamic-lede.js, isAutoRotateDisabled() They are required to take an oath attesting that their answers are true and are given a special ballot. During the 2016 campaign, for instance, then-candidate Trump said he heard. } else { Fair Fight, a voting-rights group started by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, has teamed up with 18 state Democratic parties to help fund and train poll watchers and establish hotlines for voters to report problems, spokesman Seth Bringman said. Challengers are not poll watchers; contesting a voter's eligibility is the only action a challenger may take. But a coordinated poll-watch effort, advocates warned, is particularly dangerous because of the GOP's history of using monitors to intimidate minority voters. nol: true, e.async = 1;

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During that year's gubernatorial race in New Jersey, the RNC organized a group they called the "National Ballot Security Task Force." Marc Elias, a top elections lawyer who frequently litigates on behalf of Democrats, said he expects the GOP's 2020 poll watchers will challenge individual ballots and voters — arguing that a signature doesn't match on an absentee ballot or using public records to allege a voter's registration is inaccurate or out of date. Before the consent decree lifted, "we were really operating with one hand tied behind our back," Justin Clark, a top Trump campaign official. Federal law prohibits any "civil" or "military" federal officer to order "troops or armed men" to polling places, unless they are needed to "repel armed enemies of the United States." if (a.currentStyle) { var rapidConfig = { AOL.paid = false; In Wisconsin, where Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016 to capture the state's 10 electoral votes, the state Republican Party has a long-established poll-monitoring operation, state party chairman Andrew Hitt told CNN.

Observers monitor how ballots are cast, the testing of equipment and counting procedures -- looking for irregularities. But voting rights advocates say conservative activists and Republicans have a worrisome history, such as the allegation that the RNC sent armed, off-duty police officers to patrol polls in minority neighborhoods. Last month, Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden told supporters that his team planned to, The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, has doubled its legal budget to.

On Thursday, the Pennsylvania state supreme court upheld the law. Poll watching is a long-standing practice, and both parties do it. ", (Weiser noted the GOP wasn't barred from doing the work of poll watching — it was barred from doing it without getting court approval to ensure the efforts weren't discriminatory.). magicNumber = sizeMnArray[e] Federal law prohibits voter intimidation.

Sign up today to ensure that 2020 is a Fair Fight. test_id: "", More from NBC News: found a miniscule 31 instances of potential voter impersonation.

Watch those ballots.
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c.des = des; // always true? var yaftConf = { With the consent decree no longer in effect, this year's presidential election is the first since 1980 in which the Republican Party's poll watching activity will not be under court supervision. "The reports and the announcements that the RNC has been making suggest that that is part of the program that they're trying to mount.". "In 2020, we have a brand-new opportunity to be able to activate an Election Day operation program that's really robust. // AOL.hmpg_ads = hmpg_ads;

c.w = width; if (sizeArray.indexOf(e) === -1) { AOL.articleOverlayActive = false; "What we saw in Wisconsin during COVID shows how much worse it can get," Elias said, referring to hourslong lines that resulted from a reduced number of polling locations during the state's April presidential primary. I have no idea where they're from. $(divID).closest('.m-ad').addClass('m-ad--mobile_moment') In the run up to November's election, President Donald Trump has frequently railed against mail-in-voting, making unproven claims about widespread fraud. As part of the lawsuit, Republicans also want poll watchers to have access to locations where absentee ballots are returned. I don't like it," he told a crowd of supporters during a rally in North Carolina earlier this month. perf_navigationtime: 2,
GOP officials say the residency rule hampers their ability to bring in volunteers from other parts of the state to monitor voting in Democratic strongholds, such as Philadelphia.

A Department of Defense directive similarly bars DoD and National Guard personnel from conducting "operations" at polling places, and the president does not have the authority to dispatch local sheriffs. AOL.pageType = "article"; // required by dynamic-lede.js, cstrack()

Be poll watchers when you go there. c.h = height; How much can you receive? } document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0], '//c2.taboola.com/nr/aol-aol/newsroom.js'); // Make sure the atwUAC object exists before putting your function on it b = parseInt(window.getComputedStyle(a).getPropertyValue("z-index"), 10) "We're going to have sheriffs, and we're going to have law enforcement, and we're going to have, hopefully, US attorneys, and we're going to have everybody and attorney generals," Trump said in an August interview with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity. Despite it being against the law, political parties in the past trained poll watchers to intimidate voters as a means of voter suppression. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images), Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, greets supporters at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. f.parentNode.insertBefore(e, f); } But that consent decree was allowed to expire at the end of 2017, and a judge in 2018 declined to extend it. And so, it certainly doesn't intimidate me.". But election experts say in-person fraud is virtually non-existent. window.atwUAC = window.atwUAC || {};

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